“Impact happens when we partner together.” Not only was this NRF’s theme for the year but also Cisco’s motto in bringing a meaningful booth experience for our NRF attendees. We worked across multiple organizations within Cisco and brought in various partners to bring our solutions to life. Last year, we surprised attendees, press and customers with our ToyBox pop-up concept, and this year we expanded upon the ToyBox experience by connecting the consumer’s retail experience to reflect a day in the life. By going beyond the four walls of a traditional brick and mortar space, attendees could partake in a truly personalized digital shopping experience from their home, to the parking lot to the store. They also experienced a truly tangible grab-and-go scenario. Additionally, we showed how the real-time, generated shopper data can be turned into actionable insights at our ‘mission control’, driving the importance of a programmable store – which is unique to Cisco Retail.

Straight from booth to blog, here are three key takeaways for retailers to meet consumer expectations:

Mobile devices play a direct role in the way consumers shop, purchase and interact with a brand. API integration between multiple applications allows for that seamless omni-channel (multi-channel or anywhere the consumer meets the brand) experience that consumers are expecting today, and serves as a platform for rapid innovation. This developer-centric view to sustain digital innovation is the very foundation of Cisco’s DevNet, and has direct relevancy to retail. This is why Susie Wee, SVP and Chief Technology Officer of Cisco DevNet came to NRF. To speak on the value of partnering with developer communities like Cisco DevNet and looking into the right data collection platform like Cisco DNA Spaces- a platform that consolidates data from various applications to a single dashboard. Only when these components are combined together, can retailers bring a programmable store to their consumers and associates.

How do retailers integrate and account for personalization while looking to scale, when they are challenged with security and increased digital technologies concerns? The ‘optimize me’ function within our booth’s Stop, Shop & Go mobile application leveraged shopper behavior data to gather previously purchased items, provide wayfinding to locate items in the store, and suggest products based on incoming weather conditions (to name a few features). All of this was capable and the experience was seamless without bandwidth issues because we leverage a multi-cloud environment. This shows that the move to a multi-cloud that is compatible with different ISVs is desirable for retailers. Adding the iOS compatibility feature and that’s the cherry-on-top!

The store is no longer the end of the customer funnel. It needs to be more than just a store – it should be an experience and considered another channel for consumers to shop and interact with a brand. E-commerce and BOPIS are two key drivers for retailers to rethink their store. As digital shoppers’ preferences and expectations continue to evolve, retailers will be challenged to innovate their physical spaces if they want to expand their operations. Imran Idrees, Senior Marketing Manager, Global SP & Enterprise of Cisco Meraki, spoke to attendees about how Cisco Meraki solutions help retailers capture the right behavioral data to improve the store into a more experiential space. The Cisco Meraki security cameras, as showcased in the booth, can also capture data on people and things such as dwell time and people counting for store optimization, while managing theft prevention. In this way, retailers can remain agile to shifting shopper preferences while continuing to scale.

NRF 2019 has set the trajectory for Retail this year. Growth, agility and innovation are in the cards and Cisco is ready to help retailers deliver the network, IT infrastructure and retail solutions needed in retail to leverage untapped data and optimize the retail moments that matter most. Check out our new infographic that follows a day in the life of a smart, digital shopper.



Nicki Vereschagin

Global Retail Marketing Content Strategist

Global Industries Marketing